Martin Luther King

1960s: The Decade of Assassinations


If America finally died at Kent State, it had been slowly tortured and already beaten in the decade before it finally went down. The 1960s could easily be referred to the decade when the National sport of political assassinations replaced the National pastime of baseball.

Despite the fact of numerous investigations into the assassination of the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King and Marilyn Monroe, there will always be doubt as to their elusory links and to who was the responsible party. Official investigative panels must think the American public is naively stupid to believe that in each murder, the gunman was a lone, crazed malcontent who acted out of single-minded hatred; or that Monroe’s association with the Kennedy men was innocent celebrity cameo.

In their careers, the Kennedy brothers had made enough enemies, burned enough bridges, or double-crossed enough powerful men to have been killed six times over. They were also trio of egalitarian, womanizing, arrogant and condescending hypocrites who suffered the deadly sin of Hubris.

Unfortunately for them they may have been innocent in a naïve way because they learned it at home from their crooked bootlegging father, Joe. Once in power two of these brothers were also determined to erase the history of their father’s close ties to organized crime and to create a future legacy of white washed lily pure family history.

I had a patient who was a CIA operative and who was one of the last agents to leave Havana when Castro came into power. He was also on the beach at the Bay of Pigs when John Kennedy failed to bring in the previously promised and desperately necessary ground fire and air support to aid the landing parties. In relating the fact of this betrayal, he told me how frustrating it had been to see the U.S. aircraft carriers and gun-ships sitting off on the horizon as the Cuba Libre troops were mowed down on the beach.

He also stated that there was a highly-placed mole in some U.S. governmental organization that had alerted Castro to the time and place of the assault.To make matters worse, JFK blamed the fiasco entirely on the agency itself and then tried to dismantle it after the fact. This man then subsequently hated John Kennedy with a passion.

Failing an invasion, there is documented evidence that the President’s office may have recruited the CIA to kill Castro in an eventually failed assassination attempt. They wanted him to smoke a poisoned cigar. my patient stated that the idea was patently stupid.

Kennedy was also hated by the mob boss of South Florida, Sam Traffacante, who wanted to get back his confiscated Havana casinos and nightclubs.

Lyndon Johnson had no love either. He was a politically ambitious conniving snake, whose world was caving in because of the Bobby Baker and Billy Sol Estes scandals; and feared being dropped from the 1964 Presidential ticket. His sole ambition in life was to become the U.S. President; so being a heart-beat away would make him a close second; as well as exempt from scrutiny of his own scandalous financial dealings; including the diversion of military contracts to Texas.

Then lurking far in the distant past was the fact that Bobby Kennedy in his early pre-Attorney General career had sidelined an attempt by Aristotle Onasis to gain U.S. seaport access for his oil tankers.

The Kennedy’s connections to organized crime are well outlined in the book “Double Cross” written by the mafia boss Sam Giancana’s nephew. Old father Joe had been a great asset to the criminal world during prohibition because he supplied their stills with vitally needed sugar. He was also able to freely import Scotch under the diplomatic immunity conferred on him by being Ambassador to England for which services he was owed a favor.

Apparently, the favor was called in and delivered when the Presidential election was handed to the Kennedys on a mob promise to father Joe; having been effected by the ever so ethical mayor of Chicago, John Daly, stuffing the ballot boxes in Cook County, Illinois. This was why it was so poetically and justly pathetic to see John Daly Junior adamantly plea the case of election fraud in Florida when George Bush II was elected over Albert Gore.

Payback can often take a long time, but it is always still a real bitch.

Part of the original deal between the mob and the Kennedy boys was that Frank Sinatra would be the mob’s ambassador as well as its liaison to the White House and that certain special favors would periodically be required of the Kennedy Administration for the big assist at the voting booths. Keep in mind that Nixon had won the popular vote in Illinois and that Cook County only reported the next day when the number of necessary electoral votes to win became known.

However, once in power the Kennedys decided to expunge their father’s past. They not only reneged on the deal but then decided to turn around and break the spine of organized crime in America; thus, hoping to bury their sordid past connections forever. They believed their power placed them above the law of the common man and that the sins of their father should no longer be visited upon them.

Among other things, Bobby Kennedy had the mob boss of New Orleans, Carlos Marcello plucked off the street and unofficially ‘deported’ by dropping him into a jungle in South America. After he miraculously made it safely back o civilization, Marcello angrily castigated Bobby for his cowardice and corruptly brazen use of his office to avoid the customary legal channels of deportation.He was also royally pissed off that his family had no clue as to what had happened to him because if he had at least been plopped down in Sicily instead of in Honduras, this would have been an acceptable and more honorable chess move.

The Kennedys then quietly began to snub Sinatra by making it clear directly that his presence was no longer required at the White House. Bobby then went one step further in bringing mob bosses in front of Congress when he launched his campaign to finally eliminate organized crime in America.

He jeeringly and repeatedly derided Sam Giancana in a nationally televised public display where he stated that Mr. Giancana (Gin-cahna, in Boston brogue) was “giggling like a little girl.”

  • Are you giggling Mr. Gin-cahna. Are you giggling? Is that you giggling? I thought only little girls giggled, Mr. Gin-cahna.

Even as the U.S. Attorney General, discretion would have suggested this to be an insane allegorical accusation.

Add to all this the fact that J. Edgar Hoover, who liked to play the horses, especially the trotters, would regularly meet Sam Giancana on a park bench in Washington D.C. to get his periodic list of sure winners. Some historians believe that not only did John Kennedy want to emasculate the CIA, but he also felt J. Edgar Hoover’s tenure and power was too much for one individual to hold. Hoover also despised having to cow tow to Robert Kennedy as Attorney general.

Richard Nixon felt the same way about Hoover when he became President but recanted his call for Hoover to step aside after Hoover showed Nixon his own FBI file.

Finally, does it not seem strange that Marilyn Monroe, who had three-way sex with Giancana and Sinatra at Lake Tahoe, at some other ill-defined point in the process, then became a paramour to both Kennedy brothers? After Sinatra’s snub the mob simply sent in their moll to get whatever information they felt they needed. Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Sam Giancana’s nephew sates that the mob planned J.F.K.’s assassination. Giancana wanted to eliminate Bobby instead, but Marcello said that:

  • When the dog bites you, you don’t cut off the tail. You cut off the head because the head has the teeth. Otherwise the dog can come back and bite you again.

He also had a sign outside his office that stated: “Two people can keep a secret only if one is dead.”

Who knows if the CIA or the FBI or the Free Cubans or any rouge element of the same were also involved. Strong evidence supports the premises that one or all were co-conspirators because the stakes were too high and the cover up was too slick. Then once J.F.K. was gone and Bobby resurfaced to run for President, there was little choice but to finish off the job because if not, then the players would have to face a brand-new snarling, dangerously angry, more viciously powerful, and vengeful dog to boot.

That is, unless you happen to believe that Aristotle Onassis, as he admitted to his mistress Maria Callas, paid radical elements of the Arab terrorist world to kill his old nemesis, Bobby, after which he then took the ultimate trophy bride, Bobby’s now sufficiently post bereavement sister in law, Jackie, whom Bobby was already tired of screwing anyway.

Martin Luther King was in a different bind. He was on the wrong side of the FBI, an organization who believed that he was a communist and felt that a grass roots street revolution could not be tolerated. The Watts riot of 1965 would have paled in comparison with what they feared might happen if King could continue his crusade. Blackmailing King by releasing tapes of him banging his girlfriend in a motel room would not have been enough to derail his accelerating popularity.

Marilyn Monroe also had to go because she either knew too much or her role as a spy became too compromising. Who killed her is anyone’s guess. She had played with everyone’s matches before she finally got burned; or rather had her passionate flames  doused by a barbiturate enema.

But for the Kennedys, no matter how you slice it, when your list of enemies includes the FBI, the CIA, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon, LBJ,  Free Cuban expatriates, and three of the most powerful mob bosses in America it would be very difficult to find a friend, much less even a loyal body guard.

Then, there is the final irony.

After Castro took over Cuba, Santo Trafficante went there in an effort to resurrect one of his gambling casinos. Castro put him in jail. Carlos Marcello sent Jack Ruby to Havana to negotiate Santos release from prison. Castro agreed after the three men then set up a Caribbean heroin drug traffic operation. No. There was no conspiracy to kill Kennedy. It just happens to be a small world.

What I do not really understand however is why there is so much doubt that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a conspiracy and that the dots were purposefully never connected. Just watch the Zapruder film.

Kennedy takes the first bullet, that going into his back then exits through his trachea and hits John Connelly. Both men react. Kennedy falls slightly forward and to his left while bringing both hands forward with his fists clenched and then up toward his throat. Connelly at the same time turns hard to his right as the bullet goes into his back.

Jacqueline quizzically looks toward JFK and begins to move to assist him, at which time the President’s head is forcefully blown back or sideways by a second shot that coming from the front or the side, rips through his head and blows his brains out the back of his skull. Entry wounds cause a little hole. Not splatter.

This is the point where Mrs. Kennedy panics and tries to crawl out the back of the car.

One can look at mountains of evidence, re-creations, and tedious explanations from both sides of the theory and form opinions either way, but the film is real and the film tells it all. Then there is the testimony of mob hitman James Filer who admitted that he shot Kennedy from the fence behind the grassy knoll.

By adding insult to injury, a mob stooge, Jack Ruby, known to be a soldier employed by Carlos Marcello, then kills Lee Harvey Oswald, a man undoubtedly involved and naively recruited to have been history’s greatest patsy. We are then supposed to swallow the propaganda line that Ruby was so upset about losing his ‘beloved president’ that he simply could not help himself. How perfectly maudlin.

The History Channel airs an astute series on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In the final capitulation one commentator states that if it true the murder was covered up at the highest levels of government, then it is also true we do not live in a democracy, but rather the case that we live in a hierarchy.

One does not even have to link this concept to a political assassination. If we actually lived in a democracy, then even an unemployed blue-collar Pittsburgh steelworker or a Detroit autoworker would have an equal chance to be elected President.

Or even worse, perhaps this country was spared the frightening possibility of reverting to governance by monarchy. Think about twenty-four sequential years of a Jack-Bobby-Teddy Presidency, and because the family breeds like Irish Jack rabbits, following this with endless generations of Kennedy political animals running amok in Washington.

This may have been foremost in the mind of one of LBJ’s daughters, who in being far less than jubilant after his Vice-Presidential nomination in 1959, was told by her father that they had not come to the nominating convention to pout. She quipped back that they had not come to the convention to be the Vice President either.

Funny thing then about the death taking place in Dallas, no?






If you really want to hit a moving target, you must triangulate it. Two shots successfully hit from two different directions. The third one hit the pavement.

Final score: Guns two. Brains nothing



Or if you don’t like triangles, perhaps a perfect Pentagon fits the bill.

  • CIA
  • FBI
  • Mafia
  • Cuba Libre
  • Ambitious Vice President. The man who would be king.
Zapruder clips

The Duke Riot 1969


1969: The Duke Riot

In 1969, Duke was the second large university to have a campus riot. In this case even that Ivy League stalwart, Columbia had already trumped us. The common denominator for both schools was that the riots being directly related to the Civil Rights movement as well as charges of racial discrimination by black student organizations against school administrators.

The seeds of the Duke riot of 1969 were sown the year before by students who staged sit-ins protesting the grossly substandard wages paid by the University to its large pool of local black workers, which at that time was about ninety cents an hour. The Federal minimum wage was $1.30, but somehow the University had creatively skirted it. The workers had no union representation and I doubt they even had much in the way of ancillary job benefits.

One particularly large protest in 1968 prompted the folk singer Pete Seeger to abruptly fly in unannounced to give an impromptu lawn concert on the worker’s behalf.

The ensuing spontaneous candle light vigil was answered later that night by the local KKK putting on a light show of their own when they burned a cross on the lawn in front of the Duke Chapel. When we heard about it, at dawn several of us ran over to view the still smoldering ashes, but still had very naïve opinions about the message it intended to deliver. We thought it was a joke.

For a long time before this the local residents had resented the rich boy preppy Duke students’ intrusion into the idyllic forests of eastern North Carolina. However, sometimes one should learn to live with and accept the devil that one knows because now the local rednecks faced an even worse devil: the hippie civil rights crusader who was bent on restructuring local Southern society.

Meanwhile although none of these devils happened to be the iconic school mascot Blue ones, the local police were bristling at the potential opportunity to come on campus and bust open a few of these longhaired hippie heads.

1968 in and of itself was a watershed year in American history. In April Martin Luther King was assassinated followed shortly thereafter in June, by Robert F. Kennedy taking a few bullets.

It was also the year that Lyndon B. Johnson announced his intention not to run for a second term as President, which paved the way for the reemergence of tricky Dick Nixon, who eventually won the 1970 election on the promise to end the Viet Nam War.

Campus protesting then became relatively low-key until February of 1969 when 50 members of the Duke Afro-American Society occupied the Allen Administration building. They threatened to burn university records if their demands were not met or if the police were sent in. This group had been negotiating with the school to improve the racial climate on campus and in being frustrated by the lack of progress decided to take radical action. They had a list of eleven demands that included the establishment of a black dormitory, the establishment of an Afro-American studies department, and an increase in black undergraduate enrollment to 29 percent

At that time there were only 85 black students in a total of 6,000 undergraduates, a statistic that made me stop feeling sorry for myself as a White minority of Italian descent who failed being integrated into a fraternity.

The mayor of Durham immediately mobilized 240 National Guard troops.

Having heard about the occupation of the building, I went over to the main campus to see what was going on and happened to join my old girlfriend along with about 200 other students who were blocking the entrance of the building.

The demonstration was innocently impromptu enough, and having arrived early at about noon, I found myself standing next to her on the building’s front steps.

The local police had just been called in and were trying to wedge their way through the crowd in an attempt to enter the premises so they could dislodge the black students, when people started throwing things at them. They did not at all take that very well.

It was then, just before the tear gas was fired that I thought the better part of valor was to flee, leaving my stubbornly resolute ex-girlfriend behind where she soon got Billy-clubbed by one of Durham’s finest who was leading the charge into the fortress.

All hell broke loose after that. The student dormitories emptied out and the quadrangles became a melee of charging students, counter charging cops, and disorganized chaos with students being forced to scatter under a white cloud of tear gas. Dressed in riot gear and gas masks, the scene took on a peculiar appearance that resembled a Hollywood version of an attack by space aliens.

It was truly surrealistic and because most of us interpreted it to be idiotically ludicrous; as we ran around dodging the tear gas clouds and laughing it off as though it might be a romp in the park. After all, why would the police really want to seriously harm a college kid? But twenty people in fact were injured and five more arrested before the tear gas vapors finally settled to earth and peace was restored.

After order was restored I caught up with my ex-girlfriend who had not been seriously injured, but who in stunned disbelief kept saying over and over again:

  • I can’t believe he hit me. I can’t believe he hit me. I’m a woman.

I did not respond verbally other than to make small talk about hoping she was all right, but could not help but think to myself about the hypocrisy of the Women’s Liberation rhetoric she had always espoused in its demands for equality with men.

What I felt like saying was;

  • If you want to be equal, then you can’t have it both ways. If you want to be treated like a woman, then act like one; and not like a rioter. If not, then just suck it up and take it like a man. Look on the bright side, too. You’re probably lucky your head wasn’t split in two.

In fact, we were all lucky and considerably more so than the poor souls who bought the farm at Kent State the following year when the focus of campus protesting shifted into high gear against the Viet Nam war.

After the riot, I retreated to the safety of Big Funk where I pretty much became an armchair philosopher on the subject of racial equality and war. I had been cured of any great desire to be a front line activist. Beside that I had too much studying to do as well as not wanting to be arrested and then thrown out of school only months before graduation.

It was too risky. If one got expelled, the school would automatically send a notice of the fact to the local draft board at home making the result no choice but to wind up facing a less than humorous drill Sergeant, instead of the cop you could simply run away and hide from.

Arthur had a much more simplistic and an ulterior motivated view about racial equality at school. We had already become addicted to the thrill of going to every home college basketball game and were also becoming frustrated by the fact of Duke’s relatively mediocre performances. The teams were good. But they were never great and we always seemed to lose to our archrival down the road, The University of North Carolina.

Arthur’s take on things was that Duke would never become a powerhouse in the ACC, nor would it ever win a National Basketball tile unless it recruited some black athletes. He was right.

The Duke teams up to then had all been Lilly white, and basketball was simply not that kind of game anymore.


Alien space cop emerges from Ork Cloud to beat fully armed Duke Earthling into submission. Notice the Earthling’s sharp, menacingly dangerous and poisonous claws.

Background facts and photo taken from: Durham Civil Rights Project